Ask a sex therapist about the most common complaint couples have and it is likely to be mismatched sex drives. In other words, one partner desires sex more frequently than the other.
In a recent column, a woman complained that she didn’t have enough energy for sex after working, housekeeping, cooking and taking care of a baby grandson. She wanted to know if there was anything she could feed her husband to dampen his desire.
Other women wrote in to sympathize with her. Most felt her husband should pitch in with the housework and the cooking. They suggested that if he had to work as hard as she did, he’d be worn out and less interested in sex too.
A couple of male readers disagreed. One said, “Are you kidding me? While the man is doing all the chores, he’ll be thinking about his reward when he finishes. A man is never too tired for sex! He will swim the widest ocean, climb the highest mountain and fight the strongest lion, all in the interest of sex.”
Another shared his perspective: “You apparently seem to know very little about what factors affect one’s sexual drive. I have been married three times, and in all cases my wives were unable to keep up with my sexual needs.
“I consider myself fairly intelligent, a good conversationalist, empathetic to all life and fairly good looking. I adore women and respect their individuality and personal beliefs. But sex is always at the front of my mind.
“Even when I worked long days and came home exhausted, my sex drive was always in high gear. It still is, even though I am now 71 and retired.
“I do not pretend to understand what determines sex drive. I only know that I have always enjoyed my own sexual appetite and hope to do so until I die. Perhaps someday I will meet a lady of a like mind where sex is concerned and we can both be happy and totally satisfied.”
Most people assume that men are more likely to have strong sexual appetites, but sometimes the roles are reversed. This man was open about his situation: “I'm 39 years old and have been married for over two years now. Unfortunately, I find myself in a position where I have a low sex drive, while my wife has a strong one.”
We have also heard from women like this one: “My husband and I are in our early 50s and are newlyweds (three years). Shortly after we were married, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. His medicine has affected his health in many ways. He is depressed, tired all the time and has very little sexual interest. I really feel that the doctor is only interested in controlling the blood pressure and is not concerned about the side effects. Our sex life is suffering.”
Medications can be a contributing factor in sexual problems. Antidepressants, blood pressure pills and prostate medicine are just some of the drugs that can depress libido or interfere with enjoyment. Our Guides to Drugs That Affect Sexuality and Treating Sexual Dysfunction lists some of these and offers some alternatives that are less likely to cause sexual issues. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. YP-96, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.